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The Life Extension Foundation Forums > LEF Public Forums > Dietary Xenobiotics > Lithium as life extension drug  Forum Quick Jump
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   Posted 2/6/2001 3:33 PM (GMT -4)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
With the recent news of lithium causing an increase in grey matter, is LEF actively looking into the possibility of recomending it as a brain/life enhancer for the general population?

::As an outside consultant I have no special connection to what those at LEF are considering, however, I have been following this news with great interest. It is my understanding that the dosages involved for best effect are considerably less than is generally taken for manic-depressive disorder, which generally makes ones thinking unclear and foggy. This and other side effects such as of loss of libido are a major reason for the high rate of non-compliance with theraputic doses.::
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   Posted 2/8/2001 4:54 PM (GMT -4)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Dont forget its toxic and those taking it have to get tested every 4 months for kidney/liver damage.

::Quite true, but then as with everything, The dose makes the poison. Ie everything is toxic at high enough dosages. It is entirely reasonable that a little lithium may promote brain health and longevity even though a lot may be toxic and harmful to health. For use in treatment of bipolar disorder after initial therapy or dose increases frequent serum lithium levels are monitored and the blood level maintained typically between 0.6 and 1.6 mEq/L. Once a patient has been on a dosage for a long period of time and maintaining an acceptable blood level (and no untoward symptoms), laboratory monitoring is often reduced to 1 or 2 times per year. This is appropriate because lithium only slowly dissapears from the brain (half-life of 28 hours) and its average value is what is important for its effects. The dosage being considered for life-extension purposes is less than what is normally prescribed for bipolar disorder.::
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   Posted 4/23/2001 8:48 PM (GMT -4)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Speaking of lithium, Dr. Ward Dean of Vitamin Research Products has stated that prescription forms of lithium (carbonate or citrate) are poorly absorbed by brain cells -- and it is in brain cells where lithium does its job. Due to this poor cellular absorption, prescription forms of lithium tend to cause lithium to accumulate in the blood -- hence the need for blood tests to watch out for toxicity.

Dr. Ward Dean recommends a non-prescription form of lithium that VRP sells, called lithium orotate -- a form that allows for much better cellular absorption, and less risk of toxicity. Also, due to the better cellular absorption, lithium orotate has lower dosage requirements than other forms.

(I noticed a while ago that lithium was part of Kittys regimen, but the form was carbonate or citrate)

::Thanks for the information. The following abstracts appear to contradict Deans statement about reduced blood levels and toxicity with lithium orotate. Thus, it appears that the higher brain concentration is merely due to higher blood concentration for a longer time, and the lower dosage will not be useful and may impair kidney function.

J Pharm Pharmacol 1978 Jun;30(6):368-70
Rat brain and serum lithium concentrations after acute injections of lithium carbonate and orotate.
Kling MA, Manowitz P, Pollack IW.

Eight hours after intraperitoneal injections of 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0m equiv Li kg-1, the serum and brain lithium concentrations of rats were significantly greater after lithium orotate than after lithium carbonate. While little serum lithium remained at 24 h after injection of 2.0 m equiv kg-1 lithium carbonate, two-thirds of the 2 h serum lithium concentration was present 24h after lithium orotate. Furthermore, the 24 h brain concentration of lithium after lithium orotate was approximately three times greater than that after lithium carbonate. These data suggest the possibility that lower doses of lithium orotate than lithium carbonate may achieve therapeutic brain lithium concentrations and relatively stable serum concentrations.
PMID: 26768

The following abstract found that the reason for the higher serum concentrations was reduced kidney function, however, the study is flawed by not having compared kidney function for dosages of equal brain effect, rather than equal dosages.

J Pharm Pharmacol 1979 Mar;31(3):161-3
Kidney function and lithium concentrations of rats given an injection of lithium orotate or lithium carbonate.
Smith DF, Schou M.

A recent study by Kling et al (1978) noted the finding of higher lithium concentrations in serum and brain of rats after an intraperitoneal injection (2 mmol lithium kg-1) of lithium orotate as a slurry than of lithium carbonate in solution. The authors suggested that lithium orotate might offer advantages in the treatment of patients. We repeated the experiments of Kling et al but in addition examined the kidney function of the rats. Glomerular filtration rate and urine flow were markedly lower in rats given lithium orotate than in rats given lithium carbonate, sodium chloride or a sham injection. The renal lithium clearance was significantly lower, the kidney weight and the lithium concentrations in serum, kidney and heart significantly higher after injection of lithium orotate than after injection of lithium carbonate. The higher lithium concentrations could be accounted for by the lower kidney function. It seems inadvisable to use lithium orotate for the treatment of patients.
PMID: 34690

Note however, that the following earlier study contradicts the later one concerning the effect of lithium orotate on kidney function (although it did increase filtration less) and also did not find any difference in absorption of blood levels.

Br J Pharmacol 1976 Apr;56(4):399-402
Lithium orotate, carbonate and chloride: pharmacokinetics, polyuria in rats.
Smith DF.

1 The pharmacokinetics of the lithium ion administered as lithium orotate were studied in rats. Parallel studies were carried out with lithium carbonate and lithium chloride. 2 No differences in the uptake, distribution and excretion of the lithium ion were observed between lithium orotate, lithium carbonate and lithium chloride after single intraperitoneal, subcutaneous or intragastric injections (0.5-1.0 mEq lithium/kg) or after administration of the lithium salts for 20 days in the food. 3 The findings oppose the notion that the pharmacokinetics of the lithium ion given as lithium orotate differ from lithium chloride or lithium carbonate. 4 Polyuria and polydipsia developed more slowly in rats given lithium orotate than in those given lithium carbonate or lithium chloride, perhaps due to an effect of the orotate anion.
PMID: 1260219

OTOH, here is a study which shows that lithium orotate appears to be safe and helpful for alcoholics.

Alcohol 1986 Mar-Apr;3(2):97-100
Lithium orotate in the treatment of alcoholism and related conditions.
Sartori HE.

The subjects were 42 alcoholic patients (33 males and 9 females) who were treated with lithium orotate during an alcohol rehabilitation program in a private clinical setting for at least six months. They derive from a total number of 105 patients who received this treatment initially, while the remainder discontinued the treatment within six months. The data were collected from a private practice record and the follow-up varied between six months and 10 years. The 42 patients studied displayed a multitude of complaints in addition to chronic alcoholism. These included liver dysfunction, seizure disorders, headaches, hyperthyroidism, affective disorders. Menieres syndrome, liver and lung cancers. Thirty-six of the 42 patients studied had been hospitalized at least once for the management of their alcoholism. Lithium orotate was given, 150 mg daily, with a diet low in simple carbohydrates and containing moderate amounts of protein and fat. In addition, calcium orotate (for hepatic involvement), magnesium orotate, bromelaine, and essential phospholipids (for cardiac problems), and supportive measures were instituted, if required. Lithium orotate proved useful as the main pharmacologic agent for the treatment of alcoholism. Ten of the patients had no relapse for over three and up to 10 years, 13 patients remained without relapse for 1 to 3 years, and the remaining 12 had relapses between 6 to 12 months. Lithium orotate therapy was safe and the adverse side effects noted were minor, i.e., eight patients developed muscle weakness, loss of appetite or mild apathy. For these patients, the symptoms subsided when the daily dose was given 4 to 5 times weekly.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
PMID: 3718672

It is possible that low dosages of lithium orotate might cause little kidney function impairment and yet still have some life-extension effects. I will try to make some more time to check out more thoroughly the possibility of using lithium in one form or another as a life-extension aid.::
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